George Graham

New Jamaican Ambassador to U.S. Faces Tough Task

Jamaican businesswoman Audrey Marks has been named Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States at a time when relations between the two countries are  not going well. There’s the Dudus affair, for example, in which Prime Minister Bruce Golding shielded a Jamaican “don” from extradition to face drug running and other serious charges in the U.S.

And there’s controversy surrounding Marks herself. She runs a check cashing firm in Jamaica that’s embroiled in a legal battle with Grace Kennedy over the copyright to bill paying software. And there’s chatter about possible conflict of interest between her new responsibilities and her many private ventures.

But she seems to be a good-hearted, bright person, and she plays golf (photo below) , so I am expecting good things from her.

Here’s what the Jamaica Observer has to say about her appointment:

Ambassador-designate Audrey Marks has been dispatched to Washington, and into history, in troubled times. As her counterpart, Carmen Parris did when Michael Manley made her Jamaica’s first woman ambassador in the 1970s, Marks has accepted the challenge to blaze a trail for her sex in one of the most testing diplomatic posts on the globe.

In the world of intrigue, high drama and raw politics that is Washington, DC, countries, wanting to stay ahead of the game, dispatch only their finest and most astute diplomatic minds.

Marks is going to have to hit the ground running at full speed because of the nature and character of the times in which she is going to Washington DC. It will be a testing baptism for a neophyte to international relations given the current extradition impasse, the lack of a counterpart US ambassador to Jamaica, the absence of outstanding Jamaican ally Congressman Charlie Rangel and not much of a baton from her predecessor.

In due course, we expect to hear how Marks plans to disengage from her private business activities to keep at bay opportunities for conflict of interest. Her Paymaster is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Grace Kennedy over copyright to bill paying software and closure is awaited.

There is a sense everywhere that Jamaicans want to see Audrey Marks do well as she becomes the face and voice of Jamaica in the land of Barack Obama. We wish her well and God speed.

The only thing I have to add is: Me say so, too.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for